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Is Oakland's Ground Game The Contrarian Fantasy Play? - Footballguys

The Raiders have drawn criticism for their off-season moves. Matt Waldman sees potentially effective contrarian angles--beginning with Oakland's ground game. 

Raiders owner Mark Davis and his new head coach Jon Gruden are the Dumb and Dumber of the NFL. They have the haircuts, and according to many fantasy analysts that I respect, they've earned the role for their off-season acquisitions:

The likes of Evan Silva, Jeff Radcliffe, Justis Mosqueda, and Sigmund Bloom on Twitter railing on the Raiders for moves that appear as if they are woefully behind the times have compelling points.
 
However, when many of fantasy football's major voices all agree, it's worthwhile to examine the contrarian view. Giving real credence to the opposing viewpoint can lead to embracing successes that most wrote off without consideration or avoiding debacles that most unquestionably embraced. 
 
Conventional wisdom in fantasy football is an oxymoron because once an idea becomes conventional in a competitive arena, it's no longer the safest strategy. Those who excel are the exceptional cases, and you can't be exceptional when you're following the masses. 
 
At this stage of the season, the Raiders offense is shaping up to become the unit where the conventional play is to avoid Oakland's skill players. Because of the dynamics of conventionality and contrarianism in a competitive environment, we should at least take a serious second look at the Raiders' players. 
 
And there are compelling arguments that Oakland's offensive players will be undervalued this year. This week, we'll profile the Raiders' ground game. 
 

Marshawn Lynch Still has it and Oakland will lean on it 

Lynch dealt with a back issue the season leading up to his retirement. After a year away, Lynch returned in 2017 and finished the year the No. 18 fantasy back in standard leagues. Lynch remained healthy the entire season, earning a one-game suspension for unsportsmanlike conduct. 

During the final seven weeks of 2017, Lynch earned RB1 fantasy totals as the No. 12 back in standard 12-team leagues with 121 carries, 568 yards, 3 rushing touchdowns, 14 receptions, and 108 yards.  Only three backs in the NFL earned more carries than Lynch during this span. 

However, Lynch was 17th among backs in carries during the first 10 weeks of 2017. Former head coach Jack Del Rio was cautious about using Lynch and didn't ramp up the workload until the Raiders were already in severe danger of elimination from the playoffs. 

Del Rio did not buy into using Lynch as the weapon he's capable of being for an offense. Now Del Rio is gone and Gruden appears all-in. 

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